"Mifed is going to be bigger than last year," said Giusepe Zola, president of Fiera Milano operator Rassegne, yesterday (Wed).

"Sales companies are concentrating their efforts on Mifed. This means they recognise the important role the event has as a showcase for their products," said Rassegne managing director Manlio Armellini, in a clear but unspoken reference to the decisions taken by a number of high profile sellers not to go to London's pre-Mifed screenings

Rassegne also reported good take-up of its own pre-Mifed screenings. We have 90 screening slots on Saturday and expect them to be fully taken up," said Zola. "Already 12 companies have registered to screen that day, including Myriad, Focus, Miramax, Vortex, Capitol, Intermedia, Lions Gate, Overseas, Adriana Chiesa Enterprises, Motion Picture Corporation of America, Minerva and American World Pictures.

Some 222 companies from 25 countries have already registered as sellers for the main Mifed event (3-7 November), and some 438 films have booked screenings compared with 370 by the same date last year. Similarly some 8,300 square metres of stands have already been booked compared with 7,500 last year.

Milan said that it had fulfilled its promises to improve facilities at the market: five screens have been fitted with digital sound systems, a new pavilion opened to replace much of the old A1 and A2 areas and that air-conditioning and lighting has been improved in the Cisi building.